Arlington, VA

Five Arlington residents will cycle through parts of Massachusetts next weekend (Aug. 4-5) to support cancer research and care.

Since 1980, the Pan-Mass Challenge bike-a-thon has raised over $598 million. All of the funds raised by riders go to Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The Arlington participants — Andrew Carpenter, Ryan Gillis, Robyn Norrbom, Chris Smith and Andrew Evans — have been riding in the PMC for between one and nine years including this year, according to their profiles on PMC’s website.

Norrbom, who is racing for the first time, is a breast cancer survivor and has seen multiple family members battle cancer.

“My motivation was really to go to give back… to research especially,” she said. Norrbom will ride 109 miles in one day, and her team has raised over $20,000.

Gillis began biking in the PMC in 2012 while his father and a close friend struggled with cancer. He will bike 192 miles over two days, and has raised over $6,000.

“The significant amount of money that this raises makes a real difference,” Gillis said.

Riders must raise at least $600 to participate in the challenge, and required fundraising amounts increase depending on the rider’s route. PMC aims to raise $52 million this year with over 6,300 participants.

When a loved one has cancer, “it’s really hard not being able to do something,” Norrbom said. Participating in the PMC “just empowers you, I think,” she said. “Even if I’m not the scientist [or] not able to give lots of money per day out of pocket.”

Photo courtesy Pan-Mass Challenge

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